couple hanging picture on wall

There are a number of descriptors you definitely don’t want your guests to think about your home. Of course, you won’t want them to believe your space is boring, outdated, or tacky. And you definitely don’t want them thinking it looks cheap.

However, that doesn’t mean you need to buy the most expensive pieces for your home. The DIY Mommy says that she loves the challenge of making a house look elegant on a budget. This demonstrates how it’s not the price of the furniture or décor pieces that makes a residence look beautiful. What truly matters is the amount of care and thoughtfulness you put into designing your home. A house seems cheap when the decorators fall into some common design pitfalls. If you’re redecorating a space, you’ll need to know these mistakes before you get started. Below are a few things you should avoid when decorating your home to keep it looking new and expensive.

1. Taking a theme literally

woman hanging beach pictures

The first mistake you’ll need to avoid is taking a theme literally. For example, if your home is nautical-themed, you’ll want to avoid wall art that directly references the beach. This can look too on the nose and make a home seem cheap. Olamar Interiors says that the theme should feel like it’s in the background of a room. To achieve this, don’t let any décor element be too obvious. Instead, focus on creating the feeling of the theme, and remember that less is more. Another great piece of advice is to add themed elements that can be replaced later, just in case you decide against the concept in the future.

Beyond Words gives some advice about choosing the right theme so that your home doesn’t look cheap. They say to make it personal — either select a concept that coincides with where you live or a place you’d like to visit. Also, decide if the theme would look best in just one room or all your rooms. And don’t forget the importance of choosing the right wall paint colors, either to enhance or tone down the concept.

2. Using a rug that’s too small

small rug in living room

You’ll also need to choose a rug that’s big enough for your space. A rug is important because it anchors your furniture in a room and makes your design look complete. If your rug is too small, it can make guests think that you didn’t put much thought into the design of your home. The Perfect Rug outlines some general rules about buying a rug for a room. They say that, in an open floor plan, choose a larger style where almost all the furniture pieces are on top of it. If a sofa or a chair is against the wall, only place the front legs on the rug to leave space between the wall and the decorative item.

Wayfair provides a guideline for buying a rug for each room in your house. For the living room, you have a few options. You could place all the furniture legs, just the front legs, or just the coffee table on top of the rug. For the dining room, all the legs of the table and chairs should always be on top of the rug. For the bedroom, you could put all the legs or ⅔ of the length of the bed on top of the rug. Or, you could place two runners on either side of the bed. To see how different rugs will look before purchasing, lay down painter’s tape in your space.

3. Buying furniture sets

sofa and chairs furniture set

A common mistake many homeowners make is buying a furniture set where every piece is the same color and style. While this is convenient, it can make your home look cheap and take away from a homey and inviting feel. Studio McGee says that mixing furniture pieces will make your space look more personal to you and allow each piece to feel like it was carefully considered. And mixing and matching furniture allows for easier updates in the future. Instead of replacing a complete furniture set, just substituting a couple of items will make your space look brand new. Also, you can mix and match expensive and inexpensive pieces, which may allow you to save money.

City Chic Decor advises you to try to make your pieces look cohesive, not identical. To do this, they say to start with neutral base pieces, then add colorful elements. For instance, choose a neutral couch and coffee table but include a bright armchair to add excitement.

4. Allowing clutter to build up

stack of mail on table

While you may not think that the piles of mail or the items on your counters make your space look cheap, they probably are. Clutter can take away from the design of your home and make it look less put together. Deluxe Maid also warns that clutter leads to feelings of stress, so decluttering often is essential.

However, sometimes clutter isn’t as apparent as piles of stuff. A cluttered design may actually be causing you stress. The Simplicity Habit says that too many pictures on the wall, too many décor pieces, and too much stuff on top of furniture can make a home look cheap. Other ways clutter may be sneaking into your home include overfilled bookcases, toys left out, exposed cords, shoes left by the front door, or magnets on the fridge. Even furniture can make a room feel cluttered. Consider if your furniture pieces fit well in your space or if you should downsize.

5. Decorating with tacky pieces

'Home Sweet Home' welcome mat

Finally, decorating with tacky pieces can make your home feel cheap. Gaudy pieces are typically bought at an inexpensive price, so this makes sense. Replacing them with more timeless options will make your space look more expensive. If you’re wondering what pieces are typically seen as tacky, The U.S. Sun lists word art, vertical blinds, heavy curtains, and potpourri. Premiere Stagers & Realty adds that lots of knick-knacks, collections, pillows, and personal photos can make a home feel outdated. Getting rid of plastic furniture coverings and toilet rugs can also quickly update your space.

A common offender of tackiness is seasonal décor. Seasonal pieces are typically brightly colored and come in a number of different styles. To avoid looking tacky during the holidays, Charlotte Magazine says don’t go overboard, choose a color scheme or theme, and opt for more subtle decorations. Also, be sure to replace your current decorations with your seasonal ones instead of mixing them together, as this can make your home look cluttered.